Friday, February 03, 2023

Queensland protesters face court charged with disrupting state parliament

More than a dozen people charged over a protest staged in Queensland parliament last year, including the wife of the man who headed the state government's integrity probe, have faced court.

It is alleged a group of climate activists caused parliamentary proceedings to be paused for several minutes in November, after they stood up in the public gallery and began chanting.

Some of the men and women, aged between their 20s and 80s, were holding banners with messages opposing new resource projects in the state.

Fourteen people were charged with disrupting the legislature, including Lee Coaldrake, the wife of Peter Coaldrake, who led an independent review into culture and accountability in the public sector.

The other members of the group include Aisling Geraghty, Lisa McDermott, David and Judith Rasborsek, John and Rae Sheridan, Sasha Steindl, Dianne Tucker, Robin Keller, Miree Le Roy, Ian Hawksworth, Wendy Hawsworth and Tracey Hickey.

Mrs Sheridan and Ms Steindl were also charged with failing to comply with the direction of the speaker.

They each appeared briefly for the first time in the Brisbane Magistrates Court this morning, where their matters were adjourned to next month.

The group are all on bail and as part of their conditions were ordered by the court to stay away from the grounds of Parliament House.

Mrs Coaldrake said there was a "general overreach" across all levels of government in Australia, in relation to attempting to "silence protesters". "It's not about the court or us being punished, we are here because we are not acting appropriately or urgently enough on climate change," she said.

"What we have in common is a belief in the science and also we're terrified about what the future holds for our children and grandchildren."

Her co-accused, Ms Le Roy, said she believed there had been a "crackdown" on climate protesters and could not understand why they were being "targeted" at the same time the nation was experiencing increasing natural disaster events.

"I'm not sure why the people who are supposed to protect us are walking away and actually trying to punish people who are trying to sound the alarm," she said.

Another co-accused, Mrs Hawksworth, said "we are not criminals by any stretch of the imagination".

"We just have a moral duty," she said. "[The protests are] always non disruptive and non-violent – always peaceful."


Resisting the Left’s ideological war on Australia

Lyle Shelton

We can’t go on like this. Alice Springs is burning and the radical Left is waging war on our legitimacy. Nothing will placate their demands.A treaty won’t, a ‘Voice’ won’t.

Wokeism’s insistence that we continue to ignore fatherlessness and family breakdown means the kids will stay on the streets.

A Voice to a Parliament that can’t even define a woman, let alone a family – the basic building block of society and the hope for every child of the human race – can offer no answers.

Changing the date of Australia Day won’t placate the rage of the Lidia Thorpes or the stop the passive-aggressive patronising of the Linda Burneys.

If the problem is ‘the invasion’, a new national day can’t be the solution.

But when the annual Australia Day tumult and the shouting dies down, we are still left with arguably the most desirable nation on the planet.

New citizens from Asia and Africa scratch their heads.

Waves of non-white immigrants, who love the new life our culture and political institutions, give testament to the fact that we are some of the least racist people on Earth.

Yet the left want to burn it all down.

For the first time in our history, the national government is actively undermining Australia Day.

Finance Minister Katy Gallagher said staff employed by the Department of Finance were free to give our national day a miss, making the Prime Minister’s assurance there were ‘no plans’ to change the date sound disingenuous at best.

Woke corporations such as Tennis Australia, Cricket Australia and the media promote ‘Pride’ and gender-affirmation to children, but eschew pride in our nation.

For example, Tennis Australia refused to acknowledge Australia Day but held a ‘Pride Day’ at the Australian Open.

Toxic identity politics is killing national cohesion.

Displaying an Australian flag on Australia Day feels like an act of rebellion. Flying the rainbow flag is safer.

Our flag has become a symbol of resistance against our Woke elite overlords.

Despite all the fuss, the reality is the Australian nation exists. It is not going away.

The starter’s gun in the race to claim what was then called New Holland was fired by governments in London and Paris in 1787.

The British fleet beat the two French frigates of La Pérouse by just four days. That was a photo finish.

That is why Governor Arthur Phillip hoisted the Union Jack in Sydney Cove as quickly as he could.

The date happened to be January 26, a day which started the trajectory, warts and all, of modern Australia.

What has been achieved here is extraordinary and is something every Australian from every racial background should take pride in.

Undermining pride in Australia is not the way to fix Alice Springs.

Indigenous leader Warren Mundine writes eloquently in the Australian Financial Review about his up-bringing by a mother and father who were determined not to be victims.

‘The problems in Alice Springs aren’t hard to understand. The world over, social breakdown, family violence and abuse, drug and alcohol abuse go hand in hand with kids not going to school, adults not in work and chronic intergenerational welfare dependency.

‘We were taught that you’re never a victim, and you’re just as good as any other person. But you have to get educated, work for a living and seize any opportunities you can to better yourself, your family, and your community. You have to take responsibility for your own future and not be pushed around by governments and bureaucrats. You also can’t look to them to rescue you.’

The social breakdown Mundine speaks of is of course family breakdown.

Fatherlessness is the curse that political correctness won’t let us name, although former deputy Prime Minister John Anderson raised ‘family structure’ on Sky News Australia this week when commenting on Alice Springs.

As Mundine writes, his father and mother certainly were not treated justly by the Aboriginal Protection Board of the day.

But despite our nation’s faults, it still gave him and his family the opportunity for a better future.

Despite the hand-wringing of the radical left, those opportunities still exist and will only be enhanced if we have the courage to strengthen our families and take pride in our nation.

Destroying family and destroying our national identity is sadly their project.

One of the best ways to resist and rebuild is to continue to celebrate Australia Day on January 26.


Unions and green groups clash on carbon offsets

The Australian Workers Union and Mining and Energy Union have attacked conservation and clean-energy groups trying to block fossil fuel companies from accessing carbon offsets under Labor’s tougher safeguard mechanism, warning that heavy industries could “collapse”.

The unions said the mechanism, which will force the nation’s 215 biggest-emitting facilities to slash pollution by nearly 5 per cent each year to 2030, must include Australian Carbon Credit Unit offsets and safeguard credits for fossil fuel industries to help their transition and avoid carbon leakage.

BP and Orica, which have facilities captured by the safeguard mechanism, along with the Business Council of Australia and Minerals Council of Australia have strongly backed access to carbon credits and trading to ­accelerate emissions reduction.

In a joint AWU-MEU submission to a Senate inquiry into Labor’s safeguard mechanism (crediting) amendment bill, the unions endorsed Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen’s draft plan but warned “it is impossible to apply a single approach to reducing emissions across many industries”. The unions, representing 90,000 blue-collar workers, said “the design of the safeguard mechanism will have a significant impact” on industrial facilities that underpin regional economies.

“Australia’s heavy industries continue to provide good pay and conditions to thousands of people across the country, and our members are keen to play a role in supporting Australia through the energy transition,” the submission said. “A successful transition of Australia’s industrial sector also has the opportunity to place Australia as a clean-energy superpower, creating new job ­opportunities for coal workers and across the broader economy.

“By contrast, a poor transition that fails to consider Australia’s international competitiveness could see our industries collapse.”

Amid calls from the private sector for a bipartisan agreement on the mechanism, the Coalition has flagged it will oppose the emissions crackdown while Greens leader Adam Bandt is ­demanding new coal and gas projects be scrapped in return for his support in the Senate.

The AWU and MEU said the mechanism, due to start in July, was the most significant energy policy imposed on heavy industry since the now-repealed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

They said higher-grade Australian thermal and metallurgical coal exports would remain essential globally for years. “Some commentary has suggested that fossil fuel projects should be excluded from the use of carbon offsets or otherwise treated differently from safeguard facilities.

“This misguided proposal fails to recognise that Australian coal and natural gas have a role to play in the world’s transition to lower emissions, and it also disregards carbon leakage risks.”

The Australian Conservation Foundation said coal and gas ­facilities should not have access to carbon credits and be excluded from a $600m fund supporting their low-emissions transition.

ACF climate and energy manager Gavan McFadzean told The Australian “fossil fuel industries have had a free ride on polluting with a toothless safeguard mechanism for the last seven years”.

“The fossil fuel sector has had plenty of time to prepare for this, but has chosen not to prepare and is now crying the sky is going to fall in,” Mr McFadzean said.

Orica, whose ammonium nitrate manufacturing sites in Newcastle and Gladstone fall under the safeguard mechanism, said it supported the “thrust” of the new regime but was “concerned with the erosion of the existing deemed surrender provision and investment uncertainty”.

“Deemed surrender enables an entity to surrender ACCUs to government to achieve an emissions reduction and to also receive payment under an ERF carbon abatement contract,” Orica said.

The chemical giant said deemed surrender had helped it “meet our voluntary corporate emissions reduction commitments and monetise our ACCUs”.

BP, whose facilities under the safeguard mechanism include the Kwinana refinery, said it supports a “market-based policy … to reduce greenhouse gas emissions”.

“It is BP’s view that the crediting of emissions performance below the safeguard baseline and the ability to trade those credits is essential to the reformed mechanism … ” BP said. “It encourages entities to reduce their emissions beyond what is required … if it is cost-effective to do so. This supports efficiency across safeguard entities, with the market determining the lowest cost abatement pathway for the sector.”

The Australian Aluminium Council, whose members operate several bauxite mines, six alumina refineries and four aluminium smelters captured by the safeguard mechanism, said short-term carbon credits and offsets were crucial because low-emissions technologies were still being developed.


Look back in anger at government Covid folly

Remember this joke: a teenager kills his parents and appeals to the courts for mercy as an orphan? The Australian Medical Association backed lockdown restrictions back in the day but is now complaining about the growing backlog in elective surgery. Here’s a question. Had the vast sums thrown at Covid been redirected to the leading killer diseases, using the standard quality-adjusted life year metric, how many million deaths would have been averted around the world over the next decade? The lockdown harms are showing up in excess death counts, job losses, supply chain chaos, rising cost of living, and have locked in generational poverty and inequality in and across nations. Historical illiteracy is now a job requirement for ‘experts’. Germany has burnt 17.25 million masks past their expiry date, while stockpiling more for future emergencies. Recalling Margaret Thatcher’s comment on the trouble with socialism, politicians don’t learn from mistakes made with other people’s money. The media too lived down to their description as stenographers with amnesia. The state dictated every aspect of peoples’ lives, down to the most ridiculous, absurd and intimate details. With no known cure for blind faith in governments, people embraced compliance with draconian directives from politicians proffering iron fists as a magic bullet.

Lockdowns were a euphemism for a wholesale shutting down of social and economic activities and putting entire populations under house arrest. Neither based in science and best-practice medicine, nor commensurate with the age-stratified threat from the virus, they lasted on and off for two years with constantly shifting goalposts. As early as February-March 2020, data told us that elderly people with comorbidities were the most vulnerable. In a modern-day version of sacrificing virgins to appease the viral gods, the young have lost many more years of their life to buy a few more lonely, miserable months for the infirm old. A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that lack of household exposure to kids increased Covid hospitalisation of grown-ups by 27 per cent and ICU admission by 49 per cent. They should have said: ‘Don’t be a Granny killer. Leave that to us.’

The UK Influenza Preparedness Strategy 2011 encapsulated the prevailing consensus on masks: ‘there is very little evidence of widespread benefit from their use in [the community and household] setting’. The lack of observed differences can be seen in a series of comparative charts in Ian Miller’s Unmasked: The Global Failure of Covid Mask Mandates (2022). Governments ‘nudged’ the public to exert peer pressure as a tool of social coercion, backed by sometimes brutal police action against pockets of resistance and protest. Mask mandates reflected and perpetuated the reign of fear and demonstrated broad compliance with the effort of governments to exercise population-wide social control. A highly visible symbol of collectivist compliance, masks became Mao suits for the face. The degree of coercion deployed to increase vaccine uptake would not have been possible without the ground having first been prepared with lockdowns and masks.

Japan has extraordinarily high levels of public compliance with government directives and mask wearing is all pervasive. Using Our World in Data figures, Japan hit 80 per cent full vaccination on 9 December 2021 when its Covid daily death rate was 0.01 per million. This had risen to 3.43 per million on 9 January 2023. Total deaths had increased from 18,370 to 63,777 over that period. Thus 2.5 times as many people died with Covid in the 13.5 months after full vaccination than in the 21.3 months before 80 per cent full vaccination. Yet they still refuse to entertain the notion that vaccines might be the problem, not the solution. The continued hold of the ‘safe and effective’ vaccine mantra, and face mask efficacy for controlling the coronavirus is cause for despair in official cussedness and public gullibility. The transient effectiveness of vaccines has necessitated boosters every few months. Often vaccine rollouts coincided with upsurges in infections and deaths, suggesting negative efficacy. Newer studies show successive doses are less effective and repeated doses may be driving infections by damaging immune function. When vaccines began to be administered at the end of 2020, 1.9 million people had died with Covid globally. Another 4.8 million have died since then. Added to the growing toll of vaccine injuries, this has discredited officials and experts who claimed the vaccines would prevent infection, transmission, severe illness and death. Yet all that matters to zealots is how many arms are jabbed and how often.

With help from the media, social media (thank you, Elon Musk, for the Twitter Files) and police, people were frightened, shamed and brutalised into submission to arbitrary and authoritarian diktats. Governments deployed state propaganda to instil fear of the disease and shame all effort to question edicts. Turning the debate from a scientific discourse into a moral imperative facilitated the demonisation and denigration of critical voices on the lethality of the virus, the effectiveness and ethics of lockdowns, masks and vaccine mandates, and the harms inflicted by these interventions. Calls have grown for an immediate suspension of vaccinations until the unusually strong correlation with excess deaths, heart problems and female reproduction are properly investigated. Instead, suspicions become only stronger that regulators have become vaccine-enablers first, more committed to defend vaccines from criticism than protect people from harmful vaccines. The media switched from exposing official lies to amplifying them. One dispiriting lesson of the last three years is people will ‘live happily ever after’ as long as the media ignores how governments trample our freedoms while claiming to keep us safe.

On every major point of contention in managing the pandemic, the Great Barrington Declaration was right. Fearmongers-in-chief like Neil Ferguson, Anthony Fauci (whose omniscience deserted him during deposition) and their local ‘useful idiots’ were wrong. The common sense distilled into the few words of the Declaration was an uncommon virtue. The three scientist-authors – from Harvard, Oxford and Stanford! – were taken down savagely and belittled as ‘fringe epidemiologists’. This malfeasance was compounded by the cowardice of political leaders hiding behind ‘Follow the Science’ that mistook a slogan for policy and let loose upon democratic societies previously unimaginable acts and scenes of censorship, coercion and brutality which have gradually eroded trust in authorities and institutions. Recovery and healing will be difficult without accountability, punishment and robust institutional guardrails against repeating episodes of the abuses.




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